Architecture of the Two, by Michael Young

“Love is [the] arena of the presentation of the two.”—Alain Badiou

Following Alberto Perez-Gomez’s counter-assertion to Late Modernism in architecture that “architecture has been and must continue to be built upon love,” architectural production takes on an ethical importance. To address the primary ethical question—what should one do?—relative to architecture and aesthetics, it is possible to approach from an oblique angle. To this end, “categorical aesthetics” and “consequentialist aesthetics” can be defined in order to suggest further possible modes of aesthetic reasoning, one of which is the psychoanalytic category of love. Such a strategy illustrates the social apparatuses made manifest in architectural form as well as indicates the potential for introducing notions such as human rights and social justice into architectural thinking.

A critical reading of Descartes’ notion of res extensa reveals how architecture and urbanism are in fact, bound to their socio-epistemelogical conditions. Further to this, Bentham’s panopticon is as a well known example of the socio-ideological dimension of the built environment. These observations serve as levers to pry open the relationship between architectural form and the dispositif as discussed by Michel Foucault and further defined by Giorgio Agamben. What we see is that it is precisely the spectre Unity (God, Society, Man, Nature, Science,etc.) or the formulation of centralized authority and power, which has served predominantly as the truth procedure for architectural design.

Finally architecture will be cast into the figure of the two and the structure of love as discussed by Alain Badiou. As such, Badiou’s words can be paraphrased as the central aim of this paper: “The point here is that, as I also believe, [architecture] does not compensate for anything. [Architecture] can only consist in failure (ratage) on the fallacious assumption that it is a relationship. But it is not. It is a production of truth. The truth of what? The truth that the Two, not only the One, proceeds in the situation.”[1] Any ethical architecture must first and foremost acknowledge the full and fully multiple subjectivity of the participants. This work suggests the theoretical framework from within which to begin.

[1] Originally: “The point here is that, as I also believe, love does not compensate for anything. Love can only consist in failure (ratage)on the fallacious assumption that it is a relationship. But it is not. It is a production of truth. The truth of what? The truth that the Two, not only the One, proceeds in the situation.”

Michael Young, Izmir University of Economics, TR

michael.young@ieu.edu.tr

Harvard Citation Guide: Young, M. (2012) Architecture of the Two, International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture, [blog] 06 May 2012, Available at: https://isparchitecture.wordpress.com. [Accessed: 01 June 2012].

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